This post is dedicated to Christy and all of us mommas trying to make it. First I want to acknowledge the guilt or inadequacy we sometimes feel when “blog binge-ing” (as Lesa calls it). Maybe it never happens to you, and if so…way to go! But at times, I feel overwhelmed when reading online. So many of you have such amazing ideas, experiences with your kiddos, projects that you are working on…I love it! So I have to remind myself to take what I can, bookmark, save the idea (in my to do folder), and to keep working on my goals.
When reading the daily delights, I hope you will not think that I am this gal with everything figured out. Instead, I hope you realize that I’m just like you: trying to make each day better, to be a better mom, friend and wifey. My hope is that you can use what I have shared, and be inspired to create and accomplish in your own way.
With that said, I will share my deepest secrets regarding “doing it all” or as it really is for me: “not doing it all.”
Priorities, whatever they may be, take precedence over what we do or why we do it. For me, I’ve chosen that by choosing a little, I can do more. One of my greatest accomplishments is “Saying No.” Saying “no” to good things as well as those that might not be as good. In fact, I think I achieve more when I say “no” to the good things. 🙂
A disclaimer: The things that I choose to do now, may not be what I choose to do in a few months. For I’m still trying to figure out the best way. The age of my kiddos, the projects, callings, and our family goals are ever evolving. My wise mother says it best, “The only thing you can plan for is change.” I believe this is one of the best things she has taught me. 🙂
I thought it best to tell you 3 things I do that I’ve been doing for a while…and 5 that I choose not to do:
5 Things I don’t do:
- Laundry – Yes. 🙂 I do the laundry, but I don’t iron. (I have never used the iron since we’ve married). And I rarely dry the laundry. Instead, I dry the clothes for 5-10 minutes and hang them up to dry. Physically it’s more work (wet clothes, stretching and all since I’m such the shorty), but it takes less time. I haven’t shrunk anything since we were first married, the clothes last longer, and I feel like my neglect is actually using less energy. I try and do a load each day, but more likely than not, I binge when it comes to laundry. About twice a week I do 6-8 loads of laundry.
- Healthy Meals – You already know my obsession with healthy food. Now the secret: I try to only cook 3 meals a week. I try to make enough so we can eat leftovers (great on the budget), and I serve a salad dinner at least once a week. I also try and cook in the crock-pot or ahead of time, as much as possible. The kiddos and I do better if I prepare dinner right after we eat breakfast or lunch. Cooking at 4:30 is soo hard. Yesterday, I began cooking at 4pm. Apple muffins and a salad should only take 1/2 hour. I was still struggling when the designer got home at 5:30. Too many needs to be met after 4pm. If it’s cooked ahead, I can feed everyone when we’re hungry: sometimes at 4:30pm. (The designer says this is better than waiting for him) I have to agree. 🙂
- Phone calls – When I was single, I wondered why I rarely heard from my friend Jenn. Now that I have had three kiddos quick as she did, I totally understand. My mom, like many women, can talk on the phone at any time. The designer teases me that I don’t multi-task well. It’s just too hard. The kiddos dislike me on the phone, become overly needy as soon as I pick it up, and I think the record for one of them not needing me is about 2 minutes. I just don’t try very often. It actually saves me so much time. I know, I miss out on a lot, but I do try and email and call when the kiddos are asleep (not a big window though). I keep telling myself that this time won’t last forever. One day they won’t mind…
- Outside the Home – I used to have us scheduled to the max, but have found it to be too stressful. Instead, we do as much as we can together: outdoors or at home. For one: Preschool used to be in our home every Tuesday and Thursday. It was too much. Now it is here every other month…much better! Overall, the decision to do less outside the home took some planning and giving up, but none of my kiddos are in school or after-school activities yet, so it is doable for us. I try to have only a few activities a week that we have to arrive at a certain time. That way we have more leeway for diaper blow-outs, sleepless nights due to teething, and anything else that can happen and cause last-minute stress.
- kiddo daily delight – With the kiddos so close in age, it’s like running our own preschool 24/7. We are constantly working on projects: creating, moving/dancing, building, reading, cleaning, and cooking together. For others, a literature-based activity with all your kiddos may be hard. Much of it we were already doing, I just need to plan a little each day…be a bit more organized, and it just happens. At first I was trying to do one everyday, but now I try and do 5 a week. Our Sunday is so busy, mostly spent at Grandma’s after church. Some weeks we do more than 5, but I am satisfied with that goal. The builder no longer naps in the afternoon, the dancer is only napping a few times a week, and the grower’s teeth are not giving in much either. But I’ve discovered that if I play hard with them in the morning: do lots of fun activities, they are more willing to do have quiet time and give me a half hour to myself in the afternoon. (It’s not much, but oh, I feel so rejuvenated with just a half hour to myself!)
As for 3 things that I do:
- my daily delights – I try and do something for myself each day. As I learn, create, and enjoy each day, I have more energy and drive to enjoy motherhood, and all that is required. This includes a weekly Playgroup with my girlfriends and their kiddos, and a monthly Girls Night Out.
- Letting Go– My list of things to do is ever growing. Some days I refuse to look at it. Just one more way for me to “let go“. I haven’t figured this one out completely yet, but I am working and trying. The designer is helping me try to let go as well. Something else I’m trying to do is lower my expectations. It’s hard for me to do, but when I accomplish only a few things, I try to list all that the kiddos and I did that day (usually a very long list), and that, I tell myself is far more important.
- the designer– He is truly one of my secrets. He helps me shop once a week. This alleviates many errands and trips to the grocery store with the three kiddos. I’ve learned it is better to ask than assume he will notice when I need help. Though, he does so much on his own: puts laundry away as the rungs get full, washes dishes, helps me clean the house, reads and plays with the kiddos. More than anything, he is my biggest support. He is behind this journey, and when I have difficulties, he is willingly there to help me.
So what are your secrets to doing it all? What do you not do? Does it give you more time to do those things high on your priority list?